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Mysterious website wants to create jobs for 38 per cent of N.L. labour force

At some point in the last couple weeks, somebody quietly launched a website and set up Twitter and Facebook accounts for JobsForNL, the most exciting economic development that nobody has ever heard of. The website claims, “We want to bring jobs to Newfoundland and Labrador. We have a fully approved project and plan that is moving forward."
At some point in the last couple weeks, somebody quietly launched a website and set up Twitter and Facebook accounts for JobsForNL, the most exciting economic development that nobody has ever heard of. The website claims, “We want to bring jobs to Newfoundland and Labrador. We have a fully approved project and plan that is moving forward."

Do you like jobs?

Don’t worry about where the jobs are.

Or what kind of jobs they are.

But if you like jobs, you should definitely check out JobsForNL.com, and get excited about jobs!

At some point in the last couple weeks, somebody quietly launched a website and set up Twitter and Facebook accounts for JobsForNL, the most exciting economic development that nobody has ever heard of.

The website claims, “We want to bring jobs to Newfoundland and Labrador. We have a fully approved project and plan that is moving forward.

“We have been working with our provincial government on a new project that will see huge private sector job growth for decades. Jobs for generations to come.”

Who is the “we” you ask? They don’t say. And the Newfoundland and Labrador government has no idea who they are either.

There are hints that it might be a mining project — there’s a picture of an excavator and a man in a hard hat in the website background.

But the Department of Natural Resources has no idea about any of this.

“The Department of Natural Resources is not familiar with the website www.jobsfornl.com,” Minister Siobhan Coady said in an emailed statement. “While we know of many potential natural resources projects for the province, such as those proposed by Alderon or Tacora, we don’t know what project is being referenced on the website.”

The website claims that it will create 1,200 jobs in the province, and another 1,600 jobs across the border in Quebec — “That’s almost 3000 accessible jobs!” the site claims, describing the 2,800 theoretical jobs.

But Lisa Dempster, a cabinet minister whose Cartwright-L’Anse Au Clair district borders Quebec, has no idea what sort of project they’re talking about.

“Never heard of it,” she said. “I’m not familiar, so I can’t comment, but I will tell you that any time there’s a prospect of jobs, it’s good news for us here in this province.
The mining industry association doesn’t know anything about it either.

“I’ve never seen it before,” Ed Moriarty, executive director of Mining Industry NL. “This is a really strange website.”

The Telegram tried to ask some questions directly to Jobs For NL, of course. But when a reporter sent an email to the listed address — info@jobsfornl.com — it bounced back as undeliverable, because apparently that email address doesn’t actually exist.

The Telegram also sent a direct message to the Jobs For NL Twitter account, and received a couple of responses that didn’t answer any questions, and provided new information that appeared to contradict the claims made on the website.

The Telegram asked about the province’s befuddlement about the supposedly “approved” mysterious project.

“What the provincial government knows, and doesn’t, is their responsibility,” somebody running that Twitter account wrote. “They are very familiar with our project, as you will soon see.”

As for the lack of information, they said, “Are we deliberately being a bit mysterious? We are. We are excited about our project, and we are excited about the jobs and economic development that will be brought to the province. And, are we having a bit of fun with some very good news? We are.”

Publicly, the Twitter account did post on something Wednesday, “Coming soon, economic reports to back our job numbers & a full announcement on our project. Thanks for following, we'll have more info soon.”

Those “job numbers” are more than a little bit suspect, too.

The website claims that the mystery project will produce more than 100,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs. For reference, the entire labour force of the province is around 260,000, so this random anonymous website is claiming that it will create jobs for 38 per cent of the provincial workforce.

Those numbers seemed to be contradicted by a direct message the Telegram received from the same account, saying, “At full operation the project is expected to require 720 shifts per year, based on a 24 hour, 7 days per week schedule.”

When the Telegram asked for clarification about how 750 shifts per year can add up to 2,800 jobs, Jobs For NL ignored the question.

If this doesn’t seem weird to you, or like a potential scam of some sort, then good news! The website helpfully offers some suggestions about how you can support the unspecified, transformative, multi-billion-dollar Jobs For NL project.

“Email or write to your local MHAs — tell them you are excited about jobs!” is one of the suggestions.

You could also “Start a petition to make sure this project gets off the ground,” which is weird because they said it’s fully approved already, and also, it’s difficult to make a petition if you don’t know what the project is.

You could also, “Volunteer! We’re looking for ambassadors to help us create jobs in Newfoundland and Labrador.”

Apparently paying people to be jobs ambassadors isn’t one of the jobs that Jobs For NL will create.

If Jobs For NL actually announces any details about the potential economically transformational project, The Telegram will be sure to update readers.

 

jmcleod@thetelegram.com

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